Apr 22, 2017
After a two week recess, Members of Congress are beginning their descent back to the beltway for a jampacked week on Capitol Hill. However, simply boarding a direct flight from their district to Reagan National Airport may just be their first political move of the week.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan coalition of 15 lawmakers from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia sent a letter urging the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to make no alterations to the Slot and Perimeter rules which currently regulate flight traffic at DCA. These rules are intended to reduce aircraft noise and maintain regional economic competition amongst DCA, Dulles Int’l, and BWI airports by limiting the distances planes leaving DCA can fly.
70% of Members represent a district within 25 miles of a direct flight to DCA.
Reagan Airport currently has 10 airlines that service over 400 daily direct flights to/from 85 destinations. Of the 435 House members, 310 represent districts within 25 miles of an airport with a direct flight to DCA including 159 Republicans and 151 Democrats.
photo from www.flyreagan.com
More than 50 Members’ direct flights are considered “beyond-perimeter exemptions.”
Established in 1966 and expanded in the 1980s, the Perimeter rule limits non-stop service to/from Reagan National to destinations within 1,250 miles, including a set number of “beyond perimeter exemptions.” Currently, there are 9 beyond-perimeter exemptions that service 57 Members with direct flights to DCA from Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.
Minneapolis-St.Paul Int’l Airport services the most bipartisan flight in the country.
Rep. O’Rourke and Rep. Hurd of Texas made waves last recess with their bipartisan road trip, but which regional delegation should host a bipartisan townhall 30,000 feet in the air? Members neighboring the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport top the list with 8 congressional districts in range of the airport represented by 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans. Other notable bipartisan airports include the Phoenix with 5 D’s and 4 R’s, Orlando with 3 D’s and 4 R’s, Miami 4 D’s and 3 R’s, and Cleveland with 3 D’s and 4 R’s.
Reauthorization of FAA
In Febraury, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee began negoitating the FAA reauthorization bill. All three of the most recent reauthorization bills (2000, 2003, 2012) resulted in the increase and expansion of Slot and Perimeter rules at DCA. With a personal parking spot, private lounge, and 5-mile drive to Capitol Hill, the convenience of Reagan National may continue attracting the favor of Members on the go.